What often happens when I’m recording a video or chatting with my friends online is that there is a ton of ambient noise from the elements or just noisy neighbours. Thankfully, the days of that being an issue might be coming to an end due to the arrival of NVIDIA’s new RTX Voice feature. I have been hearing nothing but good things about it, and I want to test it out and see if it can cancel/filter all of that loud ambient garbage out.
First let’s install the application which we can download directly from NVIDIA. As you can see above the app itself is nothing special visually, but it allows you to choose an input device if you have multiple microphones and there is even an option to remove background noise from an output device in real-time, which is pretty insane. You need an RTX graphics card for this to work plus updated drivers, though apparently non-RTX can work too, we will address that a little later.
I want to immediately dive into an epic battle in World of Tanks, and see how RTX Voice works with this headset and some moderate keyboard mashing rage. Let’s say you’re having fun and then your tank blows up, well it’s key mashing time. Don’t worry, your keyword can take it. With RTX Voice enabled the sound of the keys disappears completely, even with the sound of a tank rolling around to add some complexity to our audio environment. If I turn off RTX Voice the magic goes away and the ambient audio chaos becomes unbearable.
Moving on to some more testing, I recorded everything with the Massdrop x Sennheiser PC 37X headset going directly into my Sound Blaster X3 without any processing applied. This microphone + DAC setup always sounds fantastic, so it’s a great combo to use for these tests. Playing around once again with a keyboard – one outfitted with MX Blue keys – and the key noise is easily picked up by the microphone and it is super annoying to hear. These keys are loud enough that even if someone else is typing in the background it would be audible. However, once we enable RTX Voice all the strokes are canceled out even while I’m speaking. I have no idea how NVIDIA managed to do something like this, it’s pure wizardry. With this new technology you can now be talking in an environment with aggravating background noise and your listener(s) won’t have to suffer. While the noise is still slightly audible it’s a lot more muted and tolerable.
How about vacuum cleaner now? I’m going to keep that on right now and just speak into the microphone. Obviously it is going to pick up some of that noise – especially the high pitched whine – but it’s at a bit of a distance so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. What happens when we enable RTX Voice? Well the noise has heavily muted and only my voice is being clearly picked up. There is a little bit of processing that happens to my voice, but that is totally acceptable given how much background noise elimination RTX Voice is having to do. How about if you or someone around you is clapping? I was super curious to hear how this would turn out with RTX Voice enabled and the results were incredible. The clapping is basically deleted, it’s essentially imperceptible to the listener. RTX Voice does an incredible job of removing really sharp sound affects.
Now what about multiple voices? For example having my own video playing in the background through a small Bluetooth speaker? Well the microphone is obviously picking up that secondary voice, as expected. Let’s enable RTX Voice and see what happens. Well the background voice is still audible, it doesn’t seem to be doing too much with regard to isolating my voice and deemphasizing the the background voice. Now moving back to loud machinery and metallic objects moving in the background – it’s so so loud that I cannot even hear myself speak anymore – some of the noise is being muted slightly by the microphone by default, but let’s see what happens when I enable RTX Voice. Shockingly, it eliminates the noise entirely. I can’t emphasize how loud the noise was, in fact I had stop it because I think the neighbors might think there’s something unusual going on, but RTX Voice was able to get rid of it completely.
Based on all the tests I did, this is not a gimmick and I’m totally blown away at what RTX Voice is able to achieve. Now sure there is some processing and modulation happening to your actual voice when loud audio sources are really close to the microphone, but that doesn’t matter. It’s able to cancel out all the background noise while understanding what is a voice and what isn’t.
As for performance impact, it does vary between games. I tested this feature in three games and the performance hit was between 6% and 12% between the titles. You can definitely expect lower FPS with RTX Voice enabled, but it might often be worth it. Keep in mind I’m running this with the flagship RTX 2080 Ti, but I suspect the performance hit should be the same with lower-end RTX cards. as well. I will also mention that there is a hack for GTX cards to use RTX Voice, but it is not official nor in any way supported by NVIDIA.
By the way, RTX Voice is an extremely easy application to use in terms of selecting your input and making sure the background checkmark is enabled. That’s about all you need to do. And what’s really cool with RTX Voice really is that it doesn’t only apply to streamers and gamers, but for people like me who need to do audio recordings for work and who might be suffering from loud background noise from outside or from neighbours that I can’t do anything about. Now I can plug a microphone into my computer, the RTX Voice application sees the interface and enables the processing, and I can potentially trust RTX Voice to remove all that background garbage. This is an awesome value-added feature that NVIDIA has gifted to its customers.
You can buy the headset in this article (its amazing!):